Just one day after GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump was asked during a debate about violence against protestors at his rallies, a group of protestors interrupted his stump speech Friday for nearly 10 minutes before being escorted out of a St. Louis campaign event.
The River Front Times, a local alternative weekly, reported that at least a dozen protesters were detained inside the Peabody Opera House. The protest seemed to be more coordinated and on a larger scale than those at previous Trump campaign events, as the group brought the rally to a halt for nearly 10 minutes, according to the report.
Protestors tore off their outer clothing to reveal anti-Trump T-shirts and chanted “stop the hate,” which Trump supporters then drowned out with their own chant of “USA,” according to videos of the event.
While Trump bellowed to the press that “no one was being hurt,” video from outside the rally appears to tell a different story. MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee tweeted a video that shows a man he identified as a Trump protestor and who appears to be covered in blood being escorted away from the rally location by police:
A bloodied man dragged from Trump rally. pic.twitter.com/eyQxFL8Uht
— Trymaine Lee (@trymainelee) March 11, 2016
It’s unclear whether that man was part of the same group that interrupted Trump’s speech.
The protesters who were escorted out of the opera house were released from Central Booking and at least one was given a citation for disturbing the peace, according to the River Front Times.
Trump said that there used to be “consequences” for protesting, and told his supporters that the protestors are bad for “our country,” according to Politico.
“There used to be consequences. There are none anymore,” Trump said. “These people are so bad for our country. You have no idea folks, you have no idea.”
The disruption at the rally seemed to bother Trump, who has been vocal about his disdain for “violent” protestors.
“These are not good people folks, just so you understand,” he said, according to video of the rally. “These are not good people. And I heard this was going to happen, and they said, ‘Mr. Trump, would you like to cancel?’ I said, ‘absolutely not.’”
While he said the protests make things “more exciting,” he told the crowd the reason it took so long to get the protestors out was that they needed to be “politically correct” in removing them.
“Part of the problem and part of the reason it takes so long is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore, right?” he said, as quoted by the River Front Times. “And they’re being politically correct the way they take them out. So it takes a little bit longer.”
This post has been updated.